Can Biden win with the cat-owner vote?

It’s always been my unsupported belief that both atheists and Democrats prefer cats over dogs.  For cats I have a reason: cats are themselves atheists, as they live in the moment, enjoying this life, and worship nobody. As for Democrats, well, I’m a Democrat and I’d like to think that Democrats like independent animals, while Republicans prefer sycophantic animals like dogs. But I have no data supporting either of these beliefs, and I wouldn’t stake a lot of money on them.

But R. J. Lehmann, director of finance, insurance and trade policy at the R Street Institute, got my interest renewed with this tweet (h/t Matthew). He implicitly assumed that Democrats are cat-lovers, and based an electoral college model on the assumptions that states with more cats than dogs would go Democratic, while the reverse kind of state would go Republican.

Under that scenario, Biden wins big time, getting 349 electoral votes as opposed to Trump getting 182. I’ve put the enlarged cat/dog breakdown below the tweet.

Enlargement of the above:

So how does this compare to the electoral college vote predicted now? Here’s the electoral-college map from 270ToWin (interactive on the site; click on screenshot) showing how the states are shaking out as of today:

Well, all the “safe” Biden states are cat-dominant states save Hawaii, but so are some of the safe Trump states, like Indiana and Idaho. Two of the three “likely Biden” states (Colorado and New Mexico) are dog states, with only one—Virginia—being a cat state.

I can’t see a definite pattern here in votes, though there is a pattern for animal ownership: the South is definitely more dog-friendly than the North. Since the South is also more Trump-friendly than the North, perhaps a reader with too much time on their hands can see if there’s a correlation here.

At any rate, both maps predict a Biden win, though the animal prediction is higher on Biden than the political prediction. So far, so good. Now if only cats could vote. . .



  1. wdbailey
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    I’ve observed here in the South that most cat owners tend to be rather extreme in political views and the most extreme being women. I know a hard right woman who named her cats after Star Wars villains like Vader and Maul as well as Social Justice women having cats with more traditional cat names.

    That’s just me and my limited perspective of course

  2. Andrea Kenner
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    There is no such thing as a cat “owner.” Cats have staff. And yes, anecdotally, I think Biden will win bigly with cat staff.

  3. craigp
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Now if only cats could vote. . .

    I suspect they will be voting if mail-in voting becomes wide-spread!

  4. jezgrove
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Lehmann should have got the Mew Research Center to do a poll to back up his findings.

    • Andrea Kenner
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink


    • eric
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Nah, his data is purrfect as it is.

  5. EdwardM
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    As an atheist who is usually forced to vote Democratic I have to say I love both cats AND d*gs. They complement each other. I like sweet and spicy Sambal, both kinds of music and although I love it when the Yankees win the pennant I also cheer on the Sox when the Yanks aren’t around.

    I love that a cat doesn’t need me but wants to be with me and that a dog needs me and wants to be with me. Can’t say that about many humans.

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    What this cat says is do away with that electoral system all together. Also, think landslide.

    • boudiccadylis
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink


    • Andrea Kenner
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      From your mouth to Ceiling Cat’s ear

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Seems a more reliable basis for prediction than some of the weirder indicators that have been used to forecast presidential-election outcomes over the years — such as whether the hemlines on women’s couture had gone up or down.

  8. eric
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Hilarious and fun. Did he run the 2016 or 2012 elections through his model to see how well it did?

    the South is definitely more dog-friendly than the North.

    I would also bet that, at a more granular level, there’s a rural-urban correlation with dog- and cat-ownership too. For the pragmatic reason of available outdoor space – i.e. more open outdoors = easier to own a dog. More apartment-like living = easier to own a cat. But that’s just a guess.

  9. Posted September 25, 2020 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    WY has more cats than dogs?! Whodda thunk. Ranch cats.

  10. BJ
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Wait, did we not yet pass that law allowing only cat servants to vote? I’m calling my representatives NOW!

    • jezgrove
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      While you’re at it, you could mention that they should get nine votes each per cat…!

  11. Two-Tone Army 1972
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    I live in Utah, which I assumed was just about the reddest state in the country because of the Mormon population. As a cat-owning atheist, I’m quite happy to see that apparently there are more cats than dogs here. Lovely.

  12. Tim J Reichert
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think one can get more atheist and left wing than I and, though I like cats just fine, I have always preferred dogs as pets. Mainly because I’m very outdoorsy and I like a pet that I can take with me on long hikes in the mountains and walks on the beach. I also like playing fetch and frisbee which my dog is really good at. And cats don’t scare away burglars and bears.

    I also live in an area that has lots of wolves and cougars and I’m more scared of the cougars and less scared of the wolves.

    But I do like my mom’s cats, and cats may have the edge over dogs for funny online videos.

    I’d be surprised if your theory is true but I have no data to go by.

    As for the sycophant comment I prefer to see it as dogs are more social than cats and suffer terrible separation anxiety when humans leave them alone and so when you get home, yeah it looks like sycophantism but’s it’s really just overwhelming relief from the terror of abandonment.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      It also depends on the dog breed. There are so many types of dogs bred for specific reasons and therefore all sorts of dog behaviours.

  13. Posted September 25, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    We have a d*g, but of course we have always been democratic.
    Aside from the politics of owners, what are the politics of cats and d*gs? I am inclined to say that cats are libertarians while d*gs are democratic.

    • Posted September 25, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      I think cats themselves are Plato Republicans – philosopher kings. Not sure that’s compatible with libertarianism.

  14. KD
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    The map really needs an overlay with per capita box wine consumption.

    • eric
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Here is wine per capita. Sorry, doesn’t have data specifically on box wine.

      Idaho is the surprising winner, at 1.2 gallons of wine/person/year (though it’s not clear whether they’re tracking gallons of wine or gallons of ethanol from wine. So that’s either about 6 bottles of wine/person/year or ~46, depending. The former seems a bit low).

      • yazikus
        Posted September 25, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        Wow – maybe I’m just a lush, but 6 bottles per person per year as a high seems mighty low.

        • eric
          Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

          Well, remember, that’s ALL persons. Including the kids, the very old, all races, religions, etc. So probably a lot of non-drinkers bringing the average down. Still, I agree with you. I think just based on the number that it must refer to 1.2 gallons of ethanol from wine, which makes it more like 46 bottles/person/year if you figure about 13% ethanol per bottle.

  15. XCellKen
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Correlation does not = causation.

    Here is how I see it:

    Democrats live in states dominated by large cities. Homes in large cities consist of small spaces, and little to no yards. Ideal for cats.

    Republicans live in more open spaces. Suburbs, exurbs, and rural areas. large homes, and large yards. Ideal for dogs.

    Political beliefs do not directly affect the choice of dog v cat

  16. XCellKen
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    One anecdote: I have never owned a cat my entire adult life. I plan on voting straight ticket Democrat. My Crazy Cat Lady ™ sister owns seven cats, including one named after me. She loves Dump. Go figure.

  17. Posted September 25, 2020 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Some consideration might need to be given to voters who have both cats and dogs. At the same time. Or does the principle of which species predominates come into play at the household level as well? (Hmmm. We have more cats than dogs and are Democrats …)

  18. Mobius
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Hey, I resent this. I own a d*g, but I am definitely NOT a Trump supporter.

  19. Posted September 26, 2020 at 4:38 am | Permalink

    What about small dogs? I have always said that people with small dogs are really cat people who don’t know how to relate to cats. I live in a neighborhood with a preponderance of small dogs & there’s not a Trump sign on any of the lawns … it’s all Biden signs. There’s at least eight Biden signs on my block alone.

    I personally love dogs & cats but I am not allowed to have dogs in my apartment & with three cats already, I really can’t afford another pet anyway. I long to own a dog … a nice big dog! & I am definitely voting for Biden … because I can NOT stand Trump. (who owns NO pets whatsoever).

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 26, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      I think some people just like small dogs. My favourite small dogs are dachshunds and fox terriers which are very different dogs even though they are small dogs. My preference is big dogs. I’d have a Great Dane if they could live longer but I really like smart dogs and have always had labradors but I prefer more the active field trial American Labrador over the more English breed which tends to look stocky and have wide heads similar to rottweilers. Larger shepherds are nice too – basically I’m a sucker, with some exceptions, to the sporting and working breeds.

  20. Posted September 26, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    I have always loved both cats and dogs but, as a child, couldn’t have them or be around them due their dander and to my being asthmatic. When my parents bought an acre of land overflowing with cats when I was 11, they remained as outdoor cats to rid the property of mice, etc. Much later in life, I was gifted with a toy poodle (name: Tuffy) dander-free and all of 8 lbs. He lived up to his name as he would attack dogs much larger than him if they Came on his property, and chase off the cattle grazing in national forest at the camping site we went to from Spring to Fall. He’s been dead for forty years and I still miss him.

    I’m a Democrat and will definitely be voting against tRump.

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